“College will be the best time of your life.” Every single adult I encountered before I went away to college told me this and it took me a long time to understand why so many adults thought that college was “the best time”.
For me, coming to University of Colorado at Boulder was a fresh start. It is a place to make new friends, to excel academically , and to be whoever you wanted to be.
At the beginning of the year, as excited as I was to be in college and for this fresh start, I was struggling being away from home. I was having a hard time branching out and making new friends and on top of that I had a roommate who was the type of roommate that reminded me of the ones in horror films. She was the complete opposite of me. She was into exorcisms and quotes about killing people, while I on the other hand liked positive life quotes and am religious. Living with her taught me that I am no longer in my sheltered hometown and Catholic school. I am in the real world where people believe a million different things, from conservative to extreme radical.
Despite situations such as my old roommate one, I realized that each obstacle I have had to overcome will only make me stronger. CU is truly that college experience that is “the best time of your life”. Through the ups and the downs, CU has given me many opportunities. From allowing me to be a part of an amazing sorority and make lifelong friends to having excellent professors who have helped me become more aware of my surroundings and helping the environment. CU has taught me how to stand on my own from doing the little things like laundry to making sure that I am always going to class and staying on top of my studies.
Most importantly though, being here has taught me that no matter what always stand up for what you believe in. It has taught me that the best way to make new friends is just by being yourself. Don’t let one bad roommate or situation make you second guess your choice of coming here because if it happened, it happened for a reason. College has so much to offer from life lessons to opportunities and letting one bad situation get to you isn’t worth throwing away such great opportunities. If you make college a chance to be the best “you” and experience new things there is no way that college won’t be “the best time of your life”.
So I guess this is my final blog post for this semester. I wish I could write something about how awesome my first semester in college was, but in all honesty it didn’t really go the way I thought it would.
I come from a high school that feeds into CU and because of that most of faculty and students consider going to CU for college is known as just going into 13th grade. This is because going to CU you will have the same friends, be in the same town, and do the same stuff that you did in high school. Hearing this I was excited to become CU buffalo because I had a great time in high school and I didn’t want my awesome time of partying, not studying, getting good grades, and having fun to come to an end. However, that all changed after my first week of college.
Being a freshman here we had to move in three days before the actual school days started so that gave my friends and I plenty of time to go and experience college night life on the hill. I ended up doing this every night leading up to the first school, I even went the night before my first real college class, bad idea. I thought it was going to be just like how it was in high school, where going out the night before class wouldn’t have any real repercussions. Boy was I wrong. I ushered myself into college life by running out of 8 am Geology and throwing up in a trash can outside. Now I can look upon this first day of tragedy with a bit of laughter, but when it first happened I was devastated and I knew I had to change to my ways.
I knew I had to put school as my highest priority. I stopped going out and having late nights on the hill and instead learned the the Benson Earth Science library was my new best friend. Now on the rare occasion that I do go out with friends I always make sure to be back in dorm at midnight at the latest. With these new changes to my lifestyle, I feel I have lost a fun part of me. The way I look at, in the long run, a good GPA will be better than a few nights with friends on the hill that I can’t remember.
I can’t say I had a great first semester in college, because I didn’t. However, the person that this first semester has turned me into is something I can be proud of. I have come a long way from the naive high schooler who thought CU was going to be just parties, and another few years of high school. I now see myself as a real student who cares about schoolwork and grades, not just what I am going to Friday night.
I slowly come out of my dream to hear my alarm blasting this very smooth guitar rift, sounding like fingers scratching against a chalkboard. I am so startled by this alarm that I leap out of bed to turn it off. Now that I am standing in front of my desk, just staring at my phone, I decide that I should make some coffee and take a shower. Everyday in my life is different. Maybe not to my planner, but to myself. I encounter so many interactions with different people at all times of the day. This allows me to realize how unique I am, coming from the other side of the United States.
During senior year in High School, I was starting to get the feeling of repetition, which was recognized by the movie Fight Club. I would get the feeling that I do the same thing everyday and that there is not enough time to allow me to be myself. Coming from a small private boarding school in the middle of no where, New Hampshire, I’m sure I was not the only one. This is why I took meditation, which allowed me to relax for an hour everyday and give me that little bit of energy to push myself. I barely ever have to meditate at Boulder because of the new faces I see everyday and the amount of activities that are handed to us. My previous high school and Boulder are completely different places.
Going to a larger school is definitely a change which challenged me in classes because I am so used to around 10 people in each classroom. Now I am in classes with 250 people. This gives me less opportunity to ask questions and have one on one interactions with my teacher. But also by being in this class of 250 people, I realized that I don’t necessarily need this extra help. I just have to figure things out for myself. I am in college now and it really is a large step to take coming out of any High School. We are consistently learning about our society and ourselves to teach our minds what to do with our lives.
As I pass the sign that says, “Now leaving colorful Colorado” and see the sign that says, “Welcome to Kansas” I know that I am getting closer to home (4 hours to be exact). In just a few more hours I would get to see my family and friends and what has changed in these past 5 months I’ve been gone.
I pulled into the driveway about 3:30pm and quickly ran inside hugging my mom with full force. Next, I ran to my dog Genevieve and hugged her. I had definitely missed my girls! I then went to my room to put my suitcase down and as I saw my room, it strangely didn’t feel like it was mine anymore. It almost felt as if I was a guest in my own home. At that moment I realized what really felt like my room was my dorm room in Boulder.
Over Thanksgiving break, my mom and I spent time catching up and doing some of our favorite things like watching movies. We went and saw the new Hunger Games (Catching Fire) which was very well done. We also went to dinner with my mom’s two friends and their daughters, who are a year younger than me. As the two daughters talked about their senior year of high school and plans for college I thought to myself that high school feels like a different life time ago. I was wondering had I thought this because I didn’t live in Kansas anymore? Had I thought this because I had grown up and moved on? It didn’t quite hit me till a little later in break.
The next person I saw while I was in town was my good friend Jessica who goes to a college in my hometown, Wichita. We got lunch at our favorite restaurant and caught up on what all had changed since I had been gone. My other close friend I saw was my friend Jordan. She had just gotten home from school herself and we decided to go grab coffee together. We talked for hours on end. When I saw these girls it was like we hadn’t skipped a beat. Both of these girls reminded me that true friends are those that stay close no matter how far apart you are.
The next people I saw while I was in town was our family friends. We played this game called Left, Right, Center where you each have 5 dollars worth of quarters and use 3 quarters each round. You roll the three dice and if you get left you have to pass your quarter to the left, if you get a dot you get to keep your quarters, etc. The jackpot which is Center, is taken by whoever can roll all dots. The dad of our family friends won every single round! It started to turn into this joke that we should take him to the casino because he didn’t lose a single round. Every time he would win he would make a funny comment like “I’m back”. I have never laughed harder in my life than when we played that game.
I realized that night that although I’m not in high school anymore and am not living at home, that this place will always be my home. That this town where I grew up in will always remind me of so many great memories and close friends I have made. I realized that night too that Boulder is also my home. It is the place that gave me a fresh start, taught me to stand on my own, helped me branch out and make new friends, from my sorority sisters to friends I’ve met in my dorms and classes, and most importantly has allowed me the chance to be more self confident in who I am and what I stand for. University of Colorado at Boulder is truly the best thing that ever happened to me and I can’t imagine a greater place to call my school and my home.
Going home for the holidays always brings a nice warmth to the Phippen household. Its definitely healthy for my young self to go home and catch up on my sleep, eat home cooked meals and see my family. I realized that I was extremely sleep deprived while at school. Right when I got back to my house I passed out at nine and woke up at three the next afternoon. I awakened from my slumber feeling like a whole new man.
Thanksgiving day was a very fun filled day with lots of traveling and catching up with cousins. Its really interesting to see my cousins grow as I see them every year around the same time for Holidays, there is always a little something different about all of them every time.
Thanksgiving was at two different houses this year. One being my cousins house in New Hampshire, which is where we ate a giant turkey and feasted on some mashed potatoes with gravy and stuffing. Also for desert my aunt made cinnamon sticks, which she is family wide famous for. They are like a taste of heaven in each bite. Me and my cousins sat down and casually sipped on some brews while we watched the Lions play the Packers. But quickly it got late in the afternoon and we had to catch another Thanksgiving for my other side of the family.
We then drove back to Massachusetts and went to my grandparents house on my Dads side. They are both in their nineties and it was almost sad to see them because they know their years are winding down. My grandfather is known to read grace before every Thanksgiving meal. But this year my cousin read it to “carry on the family tradition”. Usually my family is very loud and there was a sudden ending of conversation, which made my family completely quiet and I knew it was time to leave. Not only because of that, but also I was stuffed and tired from eating so much turkey all day. So from there we headed home, lit a fire, sat on the couch and at that moment I finally felt like I was home.